Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson may be the founder of the TraceMe fan networking platform, but to hear George Takei tell it, the inspiration could have come from “Star Trek.”
“It is almost ‘Star Trek’ coming true,” Takei, who played Mr. Sulu on the original sci-fi TV series, told GeekWire.
Takei may be a bit biased — not only because of his experience with the progressive, diversity-promoting space show of the ’60s and the original-cast movies that followed, but also because he’s the latest celebrity to join the TraceMe team.
As of today, Takei will be contributing to content channels on the TraceMe app, holding forth on favorite topics ranging from science fiction to immigration to LGTBQ equality to his trademark “Oh Myyyy” internet memes. There’s also a channel called “The Takei Files,” which will include videos paying tribute to people and ideas that Takei admires.
Takei promises “to offer original content to my devoted fans that they won’t find anywhere else, in a safe environment that ill encourage them to interact with each other and me.”
He compares TraceMe to the salons of the 18th-century age of enlightenment, where intellectuals got together to discuss literature, politics or the latest discoveries. “We can have a salon with TraceMe, without the contributions of the trolls,” he told GeekWire.
The 81-year-old is no stranger to the world of social media: He’s recognized as one of the internet’s top influencers, with close to 10 million Facebook followers, 2.8 million Twitter followers and 1.1 million followers on Instagram.
He also knows his way around the tech world: In 2016, he lent his avatar to Microsoft for a HoloLens app. And last month, he launched an augmented-reality app called House of Cats, starring a Trumpy Cat character who’s modeled after the president Takei loves to lampoon.
Takei said he’s experienced the bright side as well as the dark side of today’s techno-social milieu.
“The town square is now global. I can have conversations by social media with someone in Prague, Czech Republic, or someone in Singapore, or São Paulo, Brazil. It’s wonderful to have that large a community!” he said.
“But there’s the underbelly of social media, the trolls,” Takei added. “They can be not only upsetting, they can be destructive. With TraceMe, it’s a moderated opportunity to really comfortably build a genuine community, without the ugliness of the haters joining in on the conversation.”
In today’s news release, Wilson welcomed Takei to a team that features other celebrity content providers such as R&B artist Ciara, New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara and Arizona Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson.
“A true icon, amazing actor and formidable advocate, George Takei has long understood the power of speaking directly to his fans, which is why I’m so excited he’s joining the TraceMe platform,” Wilson said.
TraceMe’s team also features some high-level players on the startup scene, including CEO Jason LeeKeenan (a veteran of Hulu and Zulily) and financial backers such as Amazon founder Jeff Bezos (who contributed to TraceMe’s $9 million funding round last year).
But there another team that’s arguably even closer to Takei’s heart: the crew of the Starship Enterprise. When asked, he made clear that he’d jump at the chance for a role in a “Star Trek” sequel.
“I’m an actor, and I loved my term with ‘Star Trek.’ Yes, I’m more than eager and ready. But it’s all a question of whether [producer] J.J. Abrams is eager and ready,” Takei said with a laugh. “It’s not dependent on my eagerness. It’s dependent on his.”